What Causes Hyperthyroidism?
What is hyperthyroidism?
The thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones that help regulate your metabolism. However, when this gland is producing too much thyroid hormone it is called hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid. As your body produces more thyroid than it should, it accelerates your metabolism which in turn causes many symptoms including unintentional weight loss and irregular heart rates.
What causes hyperthyroidism?
The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves disease, which is an autoimmune disorder. This attacks the immune system and thyroid causing it to create too many hormones.
Thyroid nodules can also affect the production of thyroid hormones. They are basically growths on the thyroid that are not cancerous but may cause the thyroid to become overactive. This is most commonly found in older adults.
Thyroiditis, which is inflammation of the thyroid can also be a cause of hyperthyroidism. This condition causes stored thyroid hormones to leak out of the thyroid gland. Which increases the amount of thyroid hormone in the bloodstream.
Another cause can be medications. When someone is diagnosed with hypothyroidism, which is an underactive thyroid (not producing enough thyroid hormone), they are usually prescribed thyroid hormone medications. Over time, if you take too much of this it can cause an increase of thyroid hormone in the bloodstream.
What are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism?
Symptoms can vary depending on the situation, but here are some things to look out for…
Unintentional weight loss, even when your appetite and food intake stay the same or increase
Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) — commonly more than 100 beats a minute
Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
Pounding of your heart (palpitations)
Nervousness, anxiety, and irritability
Tremor — usually a fine trembling in your hands and fingers
Changes in menstrual patterns
Increased sensitivity to heat
Changes in bowel patterns, especially more frequent bowel movements
An enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), which may appear as a swelling at the base of your neck
Fatigue, muscle weakness
Fine, brittle hair
How is this diagnosed?
If you are experiencing some of these symptoms, be sure to consult with your doctor. The best way to see if this is the root of your concerns is to check your thyroid hormone levels TSH, Free T3, Free T4, and thyroid antibodies. These tests are usually not covered by insurance but are crucial to evaluate your thyroid function. This is why these tests are included in my comprehensive lab panel, along with many others so I can provide you with a personalized wellness plan just for you.
Surgery a part of or the entire thyroid gland is sometimes an option. However, when this happens you must take medications for your entire life.
However, my approach is far different from just taking experimental medications. In our online program at The Lifestyle Clinic, we are able to individualize treatment for all our members. Every single person has a unique health puzzle that can be addressed through our comprehensive lab panel. Once we receive the lab results we can create a personalized wellness plan specifically for you. Click here for more information.